It’s not uncommon for sports journalists and analysts to make bold comparisons whenever a hot new thing emerges, and in horse racing it’s often Frankel that is used as the barometer for brilliance.
Henry Cecil’s horse went unbeaten during his 14-race career, appearing unstoppable in some of the sport’s most prestigious races such as the 2000 Guineas, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and Champion Stakes.
Being compared to Frankel is a lofty billing indeed, so all eyes will be on City of Troy – the latest upstart to be likened to the highest-rated horse on the planet – during the 2024 Flat season.
Big Shoes to Fill
With a number of knowledgeable figures in racing running out of plaudits to describe City of Troy, bettors have been quick to scoop up some of the best ante-post value ahead of the horse’s three-year-old season, which will likely see entries into a number of prized races.
The Paddy Power horse racing odds have the Michael Tabor owned miler as the odds-on -110 favorite for the 2,000 Guineas in 2024, ahead of the similarly red-hot prospect Henry Longfellow (+450).
And as if that wasn’t enough, the racing tips for the Epsom Derby and even the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe will focus on City of Troy if he continues to develop at the pace expected.
No wonder favorable comparisons with Frankel have been drawn, with members of the horse’s own team of connections bullish in their hopes for how far City of Troy can go in racing. Aidan O’Brien has seen it all in a stellar training career that has seen him claim multiple Group 1 wins in the UK, Ireland and farther afield – he has described the horse as the ‘best two-year-old I’ve trained.’
And Tabor, who watched on with gritted teeth as Frankel defeated a number of the horses he owned, was equally as excited by his charge’s prospects. “No question, he is special,” the Group 1 winning owner has said. “Let’s hope he is as popular as Frankel was.”
There’s a long way to go before City of Troy can be mentioned in the same breath as such a legend, but his racing career has gotten off to a mesmeric start all the same.
Man for All Occasions
Three starts, three wins – City of Troy has been untouchable during the 2023 season.
It’s not just the victories themselves that have been so impressive, but the manner of them. The two-year-old has prevailed on all ground from good going to soft, while his incredible pace over the 7f distance has landed wins on both sides of the Irish Sea already.
He made his debut in rather low-key fashion, winning a maiden outing at Curragh, before heading over to the UK to take down two notable races at Newmarket. The first was the Superlative Stakes at the July Festival, where he trounced the field by more than six lengths to catch the eye of the racing public.
City Of Troy. A name that won’t be forgotten 😮
A spellbinding performance in the Dewhurst Stakes 🚀
Unbeaten in three starts. Where will he conquer next? 👀pic.twitter.com/GzTDP4KUKf
— Champions Series (@ChampionsSeries) October 14, 2023
And in October he was at it again, this time in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes – a pivotal race in the development of elite two-year-olds that was previously won by, you guessed it, Frankel. City of Troy made all the running before powering clear inside the final furlong, and it was that staying-on effort that has gotten his connections and bettors alike rather hot under the collar as to his future achievements.
The winter break can have a funny effect on a Flat horse – sometimes, they never quite return to the track the following spring with the same level of ability, but with such a fine team around them, the hope is that City of Troy won’t fall foul of that phenomenon.
If he continues to mature and develop during the off-season, say a prayer for his competition in 2024…